More often in our overscheduled, overcommitted, and super hyper society, we get to observe tardiness as a constant behavior –however, people do not realize the individual and collective negative consequences of being late.
Do you happen to know someone who always writes “on my way” and is already ten minutes late? Or worse off, always forgets to meet deadlines? I often wonder when does arriving late to meetings, starting events past the appointed time, or simply be untimely, became fashionable? More important – who “made up” that it is acceptable?
When we are late, we show our worst professional skills, lack of emotional intelligence, create bad impressions and horrendous reputations. Tardiness shows that we are disorganized, lack respect of our and others’ time, and poor meticulousness.
A few days ago, I had a meeting with an entrepreneur I am advising. After ten minutes past the scheduled time, she called me to advise she would not be on time. I reminded her that we had scheduled forty-five minutes, as I had a prospective commitment. She tried humoring me, explaining that the reason was that “she had too many goals and very limited time”. She also advised me to be late to my next commitment with my best smile. It is pointless to say, I was completely offended and flabbergasted. Does she realize her wrong doing and the effect her behavior will have in the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of her business?
As I had lost all my words and became mute, my only come back was to remind her that a major component of rapid growth in business is attributed to carefully cultivating partnerships and collaborations. And, that the best way to assure them was by prioritizing on eradicating all the noise that kept her off track and create dream results from her meetings – by having detailed framework questions, effective time-management and no distractions (including phones and social media).
It is essential to keep in mind that being recognized as untimely and unreliable is negative – and it has a severe personal and professional cost. Tardiness is still a terrible shortcoming. My simple and practical techniques to promote punctuality follow:
- Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the engagement. Others will begin to catch and even copy the positive behavior. You will become the “Master of Punctuality” and believe me, that is a great thing.
- If you have a meeting, and the guest arrives late – only provide the person the time remaining in the scheduled time. This will make others eradicate the habit of being late.
- Do not change your agenda for the “unpunctual”. If your first commitment is late, ensure to adjust and continue your day as planned. Under no circumstances let you look bad because of the actions of others.
- Organize days ahead. If you must submit a presentation in seven days, strategize and make an analysis of how many hours it will take you. Set a goal to have it ready one day ahead of the deadline – scheduling working two or three hours before the set date can do the trick. You never know which situation could arise the day of your deadline.
- Prepare for the following day – The night before, have everything you need at the door, on your bag or in the car. Go through the following day in detail and reach out to all the necessary things. This will assure that there are no delays the next morning, right before getting out the door.
- Separate time between commitments for calls, emergencies, traffic, lack of parking – these are events which, on average, take 20 percent of our days.
Remember that time is one of the most important human capitals we have – and is worth a lot, although it is in danger of extinction. The key is to get organized, and remember the negative effect tardiness has on our reputation and future opportunities.